Tuesday, September 20, 2011

You Just Don't F*#k With Someone Who Served Thirty Years In Public Education. (Y'all Gotta Run More Game Than This)

One more Garage Sale Story, this one not nearly as endearing, and then I promise to put them on hiatus.

Saturday--the final day of the sale and traditionally Not A Big Day, either money-wise or crowd-wise--was making us a bit crabby.  The weather had been gloomy and threatening rain, and we spent the whole first hour without a single person (or car!) anywhere near the sales on our street.  My brother, a compulsive record-keeper, consulted The Notebook, which told us that last year's Saturday had sucked bigtime as well.

At that moment, a woman in her late sixties with a shellacked coif and a rather prissy air about her approached the cashier table.  In her arms she carried two scarf and hat sets, a hooded quilted faux down vest, and a black knit stocking cap.  She set them down and...

Nance:  Hi.  Let's see what you've got there.
Woman(in a petulant, Sarah Palinesque voice) Well, before you start, this vest has a spot on it.
Nance:  Really?  Where?  It's brand new.  See?  The tag is still on it.
Bob:  Yeah. My daughter put that in this sale, and I know for a fact that she never even wore it.
Woman:  Right there.  See?  (points to a fading water spot)
Bob:  That looks like a water spot.  Anyway, that's a thirty-dollar vest, and you're getting it for three dollars. 
Woman:  Well, and this knit hat here.  It's all stretched out already.
Nance:  That is also brand new.  See how it's attached to the scarf by the plastic tab?  Besides, it's not a stocking cap.  (turns it inside out) See here? See the lining? It's not made to stretch like a regular knit hat.  That's the style.
Woman:  Well, we go to these sales and buy up all the warmer things to send them off to the poor Indian children on the reservation.  I'm sure they don't care about what's in style, poor little things. (pauses and puts bottom lip out; pouts)  They only want to be warm and not freeze.  Poor things.
Nance:  Well, ma'am, those brand new hat and scarf sets are only a dollar each.  The vest is brand new and it's only three dollars.  You got the stocking hat out of the Five Items For A Dollar bin.  There's a pair of hand-knitted leg warmers in there, by the way.
Bob:  We'll throw in the single hat for nothing.
Nance:  That's five dollars, then.
Woman:  The poor little cold Indian children don't care if things are brand new or not.  They just want to be warm, bless them.  Poor things.
Nance:  I understand.  And you're getting a great deal for five dollars.
Woman(sighs, frowns, shakes her head, pouts; takes out her wallet and a five.)  Well, you're not much of a bargainer.
Nance:  No, ma'am.  You're not.  That's five dollars even.  Thank you.

And I did not offer her a bag.


  1. Nance,

    I think you made a bad mistake not offering that woman a bag.

    A heavy plastic bag pulled over her head would have been perfect!

  2. Oh I would just NOT be able to tolerate that stuff. You seemed quite civil to me :)

    P.S. my word verification is "booth" - ha!

  3. Anonymous10:27 AM

    You are unbelieveable!! You should just donate the entire inventory to charity and be done with it. Oh wait, that wouldn't work since you wouldn't have anything to complain about...

  4. Anon--You must be new here if you think this little toss-off makes me incredible. And complaining? Dear me. I didn't even label this post "complaining." You need to browse my archives for the Real Hardcore Bitching. How did you get Here? But, here you are, and thanks for commenting!

    The Bug--Oh, sure you would! It was all A Game, to be sure. She made a few moves, then I did, and then so on. By and large, the people who come and plunder our stuff are pleasant and lovely and good-natured, and we are in turn. It's a Good Time Had By All. I make a little bit o'cash, hang out with the fam, and enjoy the scenery.

    Nancy--How terribly UnChristian of you. How would the Poor Chilly Little Unfortunates survive without her? ;-)

  5. Mikey G.3:42 PM

    That woman's not a bargainer; she's a performer. Please point her in the direction of the nearest stage and be done with her. Sometimes it's hard to choose to chuckle at people like that instead of wanting to eliminate them for wasting your time, energy, and patience. At least when we teach, we get paid to deal with it ;-)

  6. Laughing almost too hard to type. I bet anonymous won't be back here again soon.
    Nor, I hope the bagless bitcher, old bag that she is.
    I'll take all the yardsale stories I can get. It could only happen to you.

  7. Poor Little Native Americans. And it must get so cold in their teepees. The stocking hat will no doubt make a lovely papoose, though, so that should help.

    Why are the trolls always anonymous? Ironic when you consider how starved for attention they must be.

  8. Halley10:16 PM

    I didn't realize it got sooo cold on the reservations. What ever would the world do without people like her?? (please note the drippy sarcasm).
    She is probably going to write off her 5 dollar donation as a huge tax write off anyway. Evil woman!
    And, as always, thanks for the entertainment!

  9. Halley--Oh, yay! You're back in Comments! Lovely to see you again. I would have been happy to give her a receipt, had she asked. Hell, we'd have probably let her have the leg warmers for free, too, but she didn't want them. Maybe the Poor Little Freezing Indian Children are boycotting Flashdance?

    Ortizzle--Bless Anon's heart. I'm sure it's right there with The Children. And her bank account.

    Mary G--Hello, and how is My Dear Canada? We are pointing our way there next month. You know, I'm not sure there are any more good Sale Tales, to be honest. It's largely a good, relaxing time. We make it an Event, and an Experience for our customers. As all good writers and storytellers know, it's all in The Telling. You know what David Sedaris always says, "When people ask me if these stories are true, I prefer to say that they are true enough."

    Mikey G--Yes, it was a bit telling that she avoided all of the other 'warm things' in our sale, presented no definite details about what specific reservation or group of NA's, and only began talking about them after she didn't get a reduced price on an already ridiculously low-priced item. Like my post title says, I've had 30 years of Scam Training--the best there is--and her attempt was laughable.

  10. Hi Nance,

    Just a note to tell you that today is my 61st Wedding Anniversary.

    We were married on September 23,1950 and were lucky enough to be very much in LIKE! We were madly in love,of course, but more important than love, we enjoyed each other's company more than any other person we knew.

    Four children and eight Grandchildren later we still like each other and are happy to be spending our retirement years

    I wish the same for you and Rick.

  11. Nancy--Please accept my heartfelt Congratulations to you both. Sixty-one years is a Very Long Time to be at anything, and to find yourself happy and agreeable in Marriage is lovely indeed. Thank you for sharing your news with me and the Dept. I will celebrate your Anniversary today in some fitting manner, rest assured, in my own way. Zivjeli!

  12. 61 years? Yay to Nancy and her husband!

    Regarding the woman...wow. Some people are idiots, huh? Actually, maybe idiot isn't the right word. She just LOVES the bargaining, and wants to feel like she got the best deal possible. A $30 vest for $3 is an amazing deal, but if she can get it for $1, SHE WINS. Ugh.

  13. j.@jj--Oh, I'm sure you're probably right. I hate the bargaining thing, and that's why we mark everything so low. Not only do we want to get rid of stuff but still make a little cash so that it's worth our time, but we really don't want to have to go through that Car Lot Calisthenic. I find it unseemly. Then, when you add in that icky NA ploy she tried, it just gets nauseating. But, for some people it is a Sport. They simply love the challenge and the competitive nature of it. And they need the win.

  14. I hope you didn't loose a lot of sleep over this rouge shopper. ;)

  15. V-Grrrl--And here, I thought you liked me.


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